ODPP lawyers, as State Counsel or State Prosecutors, are subject to constitutional, legal procedural and ethical obligations, with the responsibility of discharging their duties with fairness, integrity and independence.
The role of a State Counsel is not to cause convictions but rather to advise the courts by putting forth all the available, relevant and admissible evidence necessary to enable the court to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused.
State Counsel’s Core Functions
State Counsel represent the State in the prosecution of criminal trials and appeals in the courts of Fiji. In addition to their litigation duties in court, they also provide legal advice to law enforcement agencies, analyse evidence and draft charges.
State Counsel have a duty to maintain an updated record of their active cases on file and on the ODPP intranet’s CASES Management System, as well as, ensuring that matters before the courts are attended to in a timely manner.
All State Counsel recruited to the ODPP are professionally qualified under the provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act 2009, have sound levels of advocacy and legal analysis skills and thorough understanding of Fiji’s criminal laws and court procedures.
State Counsel are responsible to the DPP through their respective Division Managers and the ADPPs.
The Division Managers are Principal Legal Officers who qualify to the post if they have a minimum experience of two years as Senior Legal Officers and a minimum total of six years of post-admission experience.
The Division Managers are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that junior officers file accurate submissions in court in a presentable and timely manner.
- A prosecutor has an overriding duty to the Court to act with independence in the interests of justice. He or she must assist the Court in the administration of justice and must not deceive or knowingly or recklessly mislead the Court.
- The prosecutor is individually and professionally responsible for his or her own conduct and for his or her own professional work and must exercise his or her own personal judgment in all his or her professional activities.
- The prosecutor must not, in his or her professional practice, discriminate unlawfully against, victimise or harass any person on the basis of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, gender or gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, disability, age, religion or belief.
- A prosecutor must not permit his or her absolute independence, integrity and freedom from external pressures to be compromised.
- A prosecutor must not do anything (for example, accept a present) in such circumstances as may lead to an inference that his or her independence may be compromised.
- A prosecutor must not compromise his or her professional standards to please his or her instructing officer, the Court or a third party, including any complainant, witness or investigative or referring authority.